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Key Technology Introduces its Highest Volume Sorter – Manta™

PRESS RELEASE


March 2008

Key Technology introduces Manta™, a new state-of-the-art high volume, high performance sorter featuring a two-meter wide scan area that dramatically increases throughput within a space-saving footprint. Handling up to 27 metric tons (60,000 pounds) of processed vegetables or fruit per hour, Manta offers high resolution scanning to detect and remove the smallest defects and foreign material. In addition to processed vegetables and fruit, Manta is being developed for other industry applications.

Designed for exceptional versatility and superior sanitation, this innovative sorter increases production capacity while maximizing product quality and food safety.

With the highest number of sensors and image processing modules of any sorter on the market, Manta maintains the high resolution of the finest narrow-belt sorters on its wider, higher capacity frame. Designed for flexibility, Key can configure Manta with up to eight top-mounted color or Vis/IR (visible infrared) cameras and up to two top-mounted FluoRaptor™ fluorescence-sensing lasers. Optional bottom-mounted sensors can be added to meet the specific needs of each application. Extreme modularity allows Manta to be easily reconfigured in the field, which enables processors to confidently select a camera/laser arrangement today knowing that the sorting system can grow if their needs change.

Manta’s dynamic design supports on-belt viewing as well as off-belt, in-air viewing, which can also be modified in the field at a later date if needed.

Using Key’s proprietary color cameras, Manta recognizes each object’s size and shape as well as millions of subtle color differences to remove defects based on user-defined accept/reject standards. Adding FluoRaptor to Manta expands the sorter’s inspection capabilities by reliably detecting foreign material (FM) and extraneous vegetable matter (EVM) based on differing levels of chlorophyll. Combining color and laser sorting on one platform provides the most comprehensive sort available today.

Manta features a 2-meter (79-inch) wide scan area and handles up to 27 metric tons (60,000 pounds) of product per hour in a footprint that is similar to Tegra. Compared to Optyx 6000, which easily handles 10 metric tons (22,000 pounds) of product per hour, and Tegra®, which typically handles up to 14 metric tons (30,000+ pounds) of product per hour, Manta dramatically increases throughput while maintaining optimal performance.

“Bonduelle, one of the largest vegetable processors in Europe, has purchased a Manta to be installed in early 2008. Their Manta sorter will be configured to handle a range of vegetables including peas, multiple varieties of beans, multiple forms of carrots, and also potatoes, turnips, and more,” noted Bret Larreau, Processed Vegetable and Fruit Industry Marketing Manager at Key Technology. “Every customer that has seen Manta in operation in our test facility has been impressed with its performance, simplicity and ease of use. We are excited that in addition to Bonduelle, we have multiple Manta sorters being installed in various plants around the world for the upcoming 2008 processing season.”

Simplicity is a guiding principle in the design of Manta. To ease installation, Key designed Manta to be self-contained and complete. Unlike other sorters that require additional elements such as separate cooling systems, water filters, and air dryers, Manta incorporates all the necessary components in one system. Simply connect air, water, power and start sorting.

State-of-the-art sanitary design concepts are incorporated in the design and construction of Manta. Fewer horizontal surfaces where debris can build up and no overlapping surfaces that can trap bacteria make Manta less susceptible to sanitation problems. With stainless steel construction, water-tight double-gaskets on doors, a sealed control panel, and easy access to areas needing cleaning, Manta is designed to operate reliably in the harshest environments and easily withstand high pressure washdowns.

Ease of use, despite the sophistication of the underlying technology, sets Manta apart from other sorters on the market. The icon-based graphical user interface (GUI) is easy to learn and use, reducing operator training and simplifying optimum operation. Product settings can be stored and retrieved for fast product changeover. The GUI can reside locally and can be accessed remotely via its OPC-compliant infrastructure, enhancing the flexibility in the operating environment and easing access for remote factory troubleshooting and application assistance. Sophisticated real-time and on-demand diagnostics help avoid costly downtime and detect conditions that could compromise inspection.

To ease maintenance, Manta features an open design and fewer, larger cabinet doors that provide greater access to the sorter’s electronics and hardware. Quick release components allow Manta’s belt to be changed quickly and easily.

Based on Key’s powerful G6 electro-optical platform, Manta offers the most advanced image processing in the industry. Featuring a modular design and proven, high performance connectivity standards such as Camera Link™, FireWire® and Ethernet, Manta ensures forward compatibility to maximize a food processor’s long-term return on investment.
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